Walking into the Fairfield Book Shop on Cook Street, the smell of used books is a reminder of things gone by.
The wooden bookshelves, once home to thousands of books of all genres from contemporary, historical and British fiction to modern literature, and sports and recreation to military history, now sit half empty. Other books sit in metal carts and the store’s blue walls stand bare.
After more than 20 years in business the beloved used bookstore, the last store on the south end of Cook Street Village, will be closing its doors in the coming weeks.
Its new owners, Mai and Melissa Tong, took possession July 1 and are currently in the process of selling the hundreds of used books still left, before it officially closes as a bookstore.
According to Mai, the previous owner put the roughly 1,200-square-foot business up for sale about a year ago. Mai came across the listing in April and decided to purchase it as is.
The used bookstore was originally opened 33 years ago by veteran used book seller Reg Smart. Seventeen years later, Donna Ashmore acquired the business.
“It's sad to see the store go, everyone is because it's been here for 25 years,” said Mai, adding sales have been decreasing over the past year, according to financial statements. “Nowadays with the Internet, everything is all e-books, but everyone still loves their books.”
Residents are also sad to see the bookstore closing its doors.
Joan Kennedy has been going to the store to purchase her favourite books for several years.
“I was disappointed,” said Kennedy, who used to live in the Cook Street Village. “You find good second hand books and a variety of books. It was handy when I was in the area to get groceries.”
But when one chapter ends, another begins.
The sisters will be turning the store into a spa, offering services such as manicures, pedicures, massages, eyelash extensions, facials, waxing and tinting.
“There's a lot of traffic and a lot of people walking,” said Melissa, adding it will remain a family-owned business. “There's lots of traffic here for a spa.”
Mai hopes the business will become a staple in the community, in the same way the bookstore once was.
The duo expects renovations to begin in the next two to three weeks, with Cook Street Nail and Spa opening in the fall.